My 50 Favorite Movies of the 1930’s

Society had made definite changes from the orderly Victorian era. Urbanization and industrialization had forever changed cultures and the landscape. New subject matter was on the horizon. From the child serial killer in “M”, man hunting in “The Most Dangerous Game”, and societal commentary in “Dead End”, “The Public Enemy”, and “Scarface”. Probably the darkest views of civilization came in the form of “Modern Times”, “Stagecoach”, and “Freaks”.

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Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

50.  The Most Dangerous Game…d. Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack

49.  The Lady Vanishes…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

48.  The Dawn Patrol…d. William Goulding

47.  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington…d. Frank Capra

46.  M…d. Fritz Lang (Germany)

45.  King Kong…d. Merian C. Cooper

44.  The Man Who Knew Too Much…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

43.  A Day at the Races…d. Sam Wood

42.  La Grande Illusion…d. Jean Renoir (France)

41.  The Thin Man…d. W.S. Van Dyke

However, this was also the era of the “screwball comedy,” best exemplified by the presence of the Marx Brothers, Laurel & Hardy, and other classics of that comic genre. Cary Grant & The Marx Brothers have four mentions each. Both have films in the top ten.

40.  The Little Princess…d. Walter Lang

39.  Animal Crackers…d. Victor Heerman

38.  Dead End…d. William Wyler

37.  Beau Geste…d. William Wellman

36.  Horse Feathers…d. Norman Z. McLeod

35.  Monkey Business…d. Norman Z. McLeod

34.  The Crusades…d. Cecil B. DeMille

33.  The Kennel Murder Case…d. Michael Curtiz

32.  The Story of Louis Pasteur…d. William Dieterle

31.  Anthony Adverse…d. Mervyn LeRoy & Michael Curtiz

Here’s a few clips for you. The Mirror scene from #7 Duck SoupThe battle on Lake Chudskoye from #9 Alexander Nevsky featuring a score from Prokofiev… “Gooble gobble, one of us!” from #28 Freaks. 

30.  The Devil’s Brother…d. Hal Roach & Charley Rogers

29.  La Règle du Jeu…d. Jean Renoir (France)

28.  Freaks…d. Tod Browning

27.  Little Women…d. George Cukor

26.  Jamaica Inn…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

25.  Modern Times…d. Charles Chaplin

24.  Scarface…d. Howard Hawks

23.  Only Angels Have Wings…d. Howard Hawks

22.  The Mummy…d. Karl Freund

21.  The Public Enemy…d. William Wellman

A dim view of the future emerges in “Things to Come”. Perhaps this ignoble view was the basis of “The Mummy”, “King Kong”, and “Frankenstein”.

20.  Frankenstein…d. James Whale

19.  A Night at the Opera…d. Sam Wood

18.  Young Mr. Lincoln…d. John Ford

17.  Things to Come…d. William Cameron Menzies (UK)

16.  The Awful Truth…d. Leo McCarey

15.  Babes in Toyland…d. Gus Meins & Charley Rogers

14.  Gunga Din…d. George Stevens

13.  The Adventures of Robin Hood…d. Michael Curtiz

12.  The Wizard of Oz…d. Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, King Vidor, Norman Taurog

11.  Gone With the Wind…d. George Cukor, Victor Fleming, Sam Wood

Captain Blood (#6) was a surprise blockbuster hit. The studio brought the crew together again, splurged on color film and made (#13) The Adventures of Robin Hood.

10.  Le Jour se Leve…d. Marcel Carné (France)

09.  Alexander Nevsky…d. Sergei Eisenstein (USSR)

08.  The Good Earth…d. Sydney Franklin

07.  Duck Soup…d. Leo McCarey

06.  Captain Blood…d. Michael Curtiz

05.  Bringing Up Baby…d. Howard Hawks

04.  The 39 Steps…d. Alfred Hitchcock (UK)

03.  The Four Feathers…d. Zoltan Korda (UK)

02.  Topper…d. Norman Z. McLeod

01.  Stagecoach…d. John Ford

Stagecoach gave form to the modern western. It set the genre standards until the formula was challenged by Sergio Leone and Sam Peckinpah in the 1960’s.

How do my picks compare to yours? Interested in seeing some of them now?

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Meleagrisphobia: Why I Fear a Roast Turkey

Normally, I love turkey in all forms, from the deli counter to a whole bird roasting in an oven. I grew up with culinary master magicians, who could turn a bag of groceries into the most delectable Thanksgiving Dinner. You know what I mean, real mashed potatoes, stuffing from scratch, sweet potatoes, stuffed mushrooms, and so on. That was my former life.

These days, I’m forced to live with a new tradition. Thanksgiving means a day off from kitchen duty. No, we don’t go out to eat…I wish. It is because Thanksgiving is the one day of the year when my wife dons an apron and makes an attempt to cook a traditional dinner.

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Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

My new holiday traditional dinner consists of Stove Top stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce from a can, a boneless formed Turkey, canned yams, etc. I think you get the picture.

She can burn a pot of water!

The first time she cooked, I barely made it to the bathroom for a puking session reminiscent of a drinking binge which makes one “pray to the porcelain God.” At another time, I cut into a thick slice of turkey smothered with the perfect amount of gravy. I took that first succulent mouthful and almost spit it out. My darling-domestically-challenged-wife had accidentally purchased a Cajun spiced turkey.

Some things in the culinary world were made for each other like lamb and mint, hot dogs and mustard, bread and butter. So there we were with a horridly flavored hunk of turkey that had no mate on the table. Trust me, Cajun flavored turkey clashes with everything and anything on a traditional Thanksgiving table. Even that green bean casserole made with Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup didn’t stand a chance.

How can a grilled cheese sandwich have a bone in it?

Get ready, here comes Thanksgiving 2016! Yes that’s an exclamation point, and yes, I am excited.

This year, my wife has decided to go into training, like an Olympian going for the gold. She has developed a somewhat healthy curiosity about the culinary arts. She cuddled on the couch with me and watched a cooking show. Then, I caught her in the kitchen peeking inside the drawers. “Oh that’s where the spoons and forks come from.” Later, she browsed through the gadgets.

Another aspect of her rigorous training was an attempt at a meatloaf. She managed to transform two pounds of 93% lean ground range fed beef into an amorphous dark brown blob. The aroma wasn’t promising either. The most horrid moment came when I stuck a fork into the “meatloaf,” and I could swear it moved! Have you ever experienced that one?

I don’t think meatloaf is supposed to glow in the dark!

O.K. my initial excitement about Thanksgiving 2016 has dissipated back into dread. 😦

Tell me about your Thanksgiving Day. Doing anything special? Going someplace special? Got an unusual tradition? Got a good culinary horror story?

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My Favorite Films of the 1940’s

All of my favorite movies by decade lists always have 50 titles. Normally that amount of titles is an easy task except this one. The 1940’s was such an inventive golden age of cinema that I could’ve easily done 100 titles.

There are classics and some guilty pleasures thrown in here. As for this list, collaborating directors Powel & Pressburger loom large with three in the top ten. Howard Hawks and John Ford each have three mentions as well.

I’m sure there are ardent film buffs that are going to go apoplectic over placing Citizen Kane at #2. Also, those same critics might go ape over my opting for “The Time of Their Lives” over “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein.” Most critics claim that the latter was their best work. However, I truly beg to differ. “The Time of Their Lives” is a much more comedic venue, with an interesting and creative story. For me, “The Time of Their Lives” represents Abbott & Costello at the top of their game.

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Public Domain Image Courtesy of Pixabay

After WWII, some French film buffs noticed a darker world view and subject matter in American movies. They dubbed it “Film Noir.”

50. Sahara…d. Zoltan Korda

49. The Bells of St. Mary’s…d. Leo McCarey

48. Stray Dog…d. Akira Kurosawa

47. A Letter to Three Wives…d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

46. And Then There Were None…d. René Clair

45. Going My Way…d. Leo McCarey

44. The Woman in Green…d. Roy William Neill

43. The Song of Bernadette…d. Henry King

42. Nightmare Alley…d. Edmund Goulding

41. Double Indemnity…d. Billy Wilder

There are quite a few films here for paranormal fans. The paranormal theme was used as a venue for horror, comedy, and drama.

40. Come to the Stable…d. Henry Koster

39. My Darling Clementine…d. John Ford

38. Angel on My Shoulder…d. Archibald Louis Mayo

37. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon…d. John Ford

36. On the Town…d. Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly

35. I Was a Male War Bride…d. Howard Hawks

34. Sergeant York…d. Howard Hawks

33. My Favorite Wife…d. Garson Kanin

32. I Married a Witch…d. René Clair

31. The Keys of the Kingdom…d. John M. Stahl

It was the decade of World War II, and therefore, war movies were a staple. Some of these films sum up the attitude, resolve, and plight of the greatest generation. The recreation of the raising of the flag in Sands of Iwo Jima stands as a great cinematic moment.

30. Topper Returns…d. Roy Del Ruth

29. Casablanca…d. Michael Curtiz

28. It’s a Wonderful Life…d. Frank Capra

27. Passport to Pimlico…d. Henry Cornelius (UK)

26. Sullivan’s Travels…d. Preston Sturges

25. Anchors Aweigh…d. George Sidney

24. Roma: Città Apertà…d. Roberto Rossellini (Italy)

23. His Girl Friday…d. Howard Hawks

22. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre…d. John Huston

21. The Best Years of Our Lives…d. William Wyler

Italian directors took their cameras into the streets and created what the French called “Cinéma Verité.” This style of bare-bones filmmaking would later become the standard for The French New Wave of the 1950’s and 1960’s.

20. The Time of Their Lives…d. Charles Barton

19. Laura…d. Otto Preminger

18. Miracle on 34th Street…d. George Seaton

17. The Uninvited…d. Lewis Allen

16. Twelve O’clock High…d. Henry King

Be sure to see my other listing of my favorite films from the 1950s 1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s

15. The Fountainhead…d. King Vidor

14. Sands of Iwo Jima…d. Allan Dwan

13. Santa Fe Trail…d. Michael Curtiz

12. Kind Hearts and Coronets…d. Robert Hamer

11. The Angel and the Bad Man…d. James Edward Grant

If the 1940’s belongs to any single actor, then this list grants that award to Cary Grant. Six of his films made it onto this list with three in the top ten.

10. Fantasia…d. Walt Disney & many others

09. I Ladroni della Bicicletta…d. Vittorio De Sica (Italy)

08. Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House…d. H.C. Potter

07. The Bishop’s Wife…d. Henry Koster

06. Arsenic and Old Lace…d. Frank Capra

05. The Shop Around the Corner…d. Ernst Lubitsch

04. Black Narcissus…d. Powell & Pressburger (UK)

03. The Red Shoes…d. Powell & Pressburger (UK)

02. Citizen Kane…d. Orson Welles

01. A Matter of Life and Death…d. Powell & Pressburger (UK)   a.k.a. Stairway to Heaven (U.S. Title)

I remember back in the 1970’s, “A Matter of Life and Death” was advertised and listed as “Stairway to Heaven” when it played on TV. Currently, my DVD carries the original British title, and a recent showing on Turner Classic Movies did the same. However, on IMDB’s top box office list, they still use the U.S. title.

How does my list stack up against yours? Have you seen all of these movies? Are you interested in seeing some of them?

Not shy? Then leave a reply!

Go to Ernesto San Giacomo’s author page.

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My Favorite Films of the 1950’s

O.K. Movie Buffs, here’s a list of my favorite movies from the 1950’s. Now I’m sure that some of you are going to say, “You’ve got to be kidding me?” for a few selections. But, although there are some cheesy sci-fi flicks listed, they are part of my favorites, the ones that I like to curl up with on a lonely night or rainy day.

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Public Domain Image courtesy of Pixabay

One listing has its controversy. There was a bit of a burning question in Cinema Studies during the 80’s and 90’s. Who really directed “The Thing”? IMDB currently lists Christian Nyby and Howard Hawks (uncredited) as co-directors, so I guess the mystery has been settled. By the way, this film has some of the best dialog ever written for the silver screen.

I still believe that it was Howard Hawks. He had a somewhat legendary status by 1950, and he probably didn’t want an association with a Sci-Fi film. The story was incredibly original and the film looks, tastes, feels, and smells like his fingerprints are all over it. I also once recommended this film for authors who want to write better dialog.

50. Earth vs. the Flying Saucers…d. Fred F. Sears

49. Umberto D…d. Vittorio De Sica (Italy)

48. Sunset Boulevard…d. Billy Wilder

47. Rashomon…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

46. Paths of Glory…d.Stanley Kubrick

45. Witness for the Prosecution…d. Billy Wilder

44. Showboat…d. George Sidney

43. Le Journal d’un Curé de Campagne…d. Robert Bresson (France)

42. Pickpocket…d. Robert Bresson (France)

41. Sanjiro Sugata…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

40. The Seven Samurai…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

39. A Face in the Crowd…d. Elia Kazan

38. Mr. Roberts…d. John Ford / Mervyn LeRoy

37. North by Northwest…d. Alfred Hitchcock

36. Rear Window…d. Alfred Hitchcock

35. Bob Le Flambeur…d. Jen-Pierre Melville (France)

34. The Man in the White Suit…d. Alexander Mackendrick (UK)

33. I’m Alright Jack…d. John Boulting (UK)

32. Them!…d. Gordon Douglas

31. House on Haunted Hill…d. Robb White

30. The Caine Mutiny…d. Edward Dmytryk

29. Rear Window…d. Alfred Hitchcock

28. From Here to Eternity…d. Fred Zinneman

27. The Quiet Man…d. John Ford

26. The Day the Earth Stood Still…d. Robert Wise

25. The Captain’s Paradise…d. Antony Kimmins (UK)

24. The Rose Tattoo…d. Daniel Mann

23. High Noon…d. Fred Zinneman

22. 12 Angry Men…d. Sidney Lumet

21. Singing in the Rain…d. Stanley Donen / Gene Kelly

20. Written on the Wind…d. Douglas Sirk

19. Touch of Evil…d. Orson Welles

18. The Seventh Seal…d. Ingmar Bergman (Sweden)

17. Throne of Blood…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

16. Creature from the Black Lagoon…d. Jack Arnold

15. Les Diaboliques…d. Henri-Georges Clouzot (France)

14. Invasion of the Body Snatchers…d. Don Siegel

13. All About Eve…d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz

12. Ikiru…d. Akira Kurosawa (Japan)

11. Forbidden Planet…d. Fred M. Wilcox

10. Les Quatre-Cent Coups…d. Francois Truffaut (France)

09. A Christmas Carol…d. Brian Desmond Hurst (UK)

08. Les Jeux Interdits…d. René Clément (France)

07. Hiroshima Mon Amour…d. Alain Resnais (France)

06. The Wages of Fear…d. Henri-Georges Clouzot (France)

05. Stalag 17…d. Billy Wilder

04. The Searchers…d. John Ford

03. The Thing From Another World…d. Christian Nyby / Howard Hawks (uncredited)

02. Ben-Hur…d. William Wyler

01. The Ten Commandments…d. Cecil B De Mille

Check out my other lists of favorite movies from the  1960’s  1970’s  1980’s  1990’s 

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Get Ready For NaNoWriMo 2016

I’m really fired up for this one and can’t wait to get started. My first fantasy novel, Tales of Tyrennia Book I: An Easterly Sojourn is still in the editing stage. However that hasn’t stopped me from working on book II of the series. The working title is The Frozen War. Within these pages, I’m delving into the Dwarven Kingdoms of the north.

I’m about 65 pages into The Frozen War, and I would really like to do some open field running. In the weeks preceding #NaNoWriMo, I’m going to review the new novel in order to bring myself back up to speed.

Next there is my writing space. As some of you know, my wife and I are expecting. Therefore, many renovations have been going on. One of the changes was to convert our office into a guest room. We moved our computers and bookcases into some “dead space” in our entry hall. At first it felt strange, but in the past few weeks, I’ve become accustomed to my new writing area.

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Got my guitars, album covers, stereo, and books around me

Our computer desks didn’t fit, or look right, in the new space. We purchased two new identical desks. The black frames and the glass tops look great. Except, our glass desk tops are now covered in paw prints from the cats. 🙂

Also, there will be many NaNo functions in town and Boise. It is always good to meet up with my fellow-travelers, have a snack, some coffee (mandatory), and let our fingers do the walking on the keyboards.

What are you working on for NaNoWriMo 2016? A new novel? Restarting an older idea?

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The “Unfriend” Trend

Liberals are loud and proud. They write insulting memes and posts all over their Twitter and Facebook accounts. They do this with an air of haughty self-righteousness. And of course, they’re the self-proclaimed guardians of tolerance and justice. Perhaps they should give tolerance a try some time.

Whenever I chance a view at Facebook or Twitter, I (and all other conservatarians) have to suffer the slings and arrows of Liberally misguided thoughts, insults, and memes, based upon their collective cognitive dissonance and a general lack of information.

Do I suddenly “unfriend” or “unfollow” them? No.

Do I scream back at them in all caps? No.

Do I use foul language? No.

Yet, on the only two occurrences when I did respond, I was “unfriended” faster than Hillary can make up another lie about her emails.

The First Incident: A dyed-in-the–wool Liberal made an FaceBook post where he equated The Priesthood with pedophilia. There was no name-calling, no caps, no foul language. I merely pointed out my research with links. Boom! Unfriended.

The Second Incident: A guy who plasters Facebook with pro-Hillary and Anti-Trump posts all the time decided to get personal. He corrected Hillary’s #BasketofDeplorables comment by stating that she should have said ALL (his caps not mine) and not half. Of course his fellow Libs chimed in with disgusting broad-stroke statements as well. My reply was as follows…”Is this what you truly think of me?” Boom! Unfriended faster than a Kool-Aid slurping Hillary minion can make up a false tweet about Trump.

Tell me about your “unfriending” or “unfollow” experiences.

 

The Power of a Single Word

As a Conservative/Libertarian, I usually aggravate many people because my desire for level-playing-fields. Now here’s one concerning an issue that I can no longer ignore. I must insist upon voicing my proverbial two-cents.

I see the word “Mafia” thrown around a lot. My basic question is why must the Italian word be used? Of course the true expression is “Organized Crime.” It existed within the borders of the U.S. long before Italian immigration, and around the world.

However, in the hyper-sensitive-garbled-disjointed-asinine-workings of the Politically Correct Mind, they refuse to see their hypocrisy and ridiculousness, when they say things like…Chinese Mafia, Russian Mafia, Jewish Mafia, Mexican Mafia…and so on. Yes, I’ve seen and heard them use such terms many times. They also don’t care about such expressions as “spaghetti western,” but that is the subject for another post. I have touched on this subject in a previous post entitled Why I’m Not A Liberal.

I just saw a Facebook Post concerning the “Book Review Mafia.” I throw my hands up and look to the heavens in disbelief.

In the spirit of fairness and equity

I’m going to create a verbal level-playing-field. I will use the Arabic words (as best as I can transliterate) Irhabi (Terrorist), Irhabin (Terrorists), and Irhab (Terrorism) from now on. Of course the politically correct and tolerant Liberals will have a collective case of apoplexy and start screaming terrible rants in my direction. Quite frankly, I couldn’t care less.

Of course I will even use the Arabic to describe those Irhabin organizations from parts of the world that have nothing to do with Islamic or Arabic society or culture. Do I sound ridiculous? Well, referring to the IRA as an Irish Irhab Organization is no more nonsensical than saying “Chinese Mafia.”

Naturally, a level-playing-field and fairness are the last things the PC police want or care about. I voiced my objection many times as to their lack of sensitivity only to be rebuffed. The PC police simply do not care. Therefore, I no longer care about how many PC automatons turn plaid in anger, stomp their feet, and throw hissy fit tantrums.

You know you’ve done it too

I know some of the most decent, caring, and well-intentioned people have committed the errors that I’ve stated above. Don’t worry; I don’t think less of you. I’ve just become too accustomed to it over the years. However, if this post makes one person stop and think, then my job has been well done.

Have you ever casually thrown the word “Mafia” around?

Star Trek Turns 50 (Part II)

Tomorrow is September 8th and therefore, I must watch a few Star Trek episodes. The trouble is which ones to select. The original pilot episode “The Cage” is an obvious choice and a must view on this very special anniversary. Others include “The Trouble with Tribbles” and “Where No Man Has Gone Before.”

***Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Star Trek Captain!***

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I’m also considering the episodes “Darmok” and “The Offspring” from Star Trek: The Next Generation

A great Voyager episode would be “Tinker, Tailor, Doctor, Spy.”

How about “Trials and Tribble-ations” from Deep Space 9?

As for Star Trek: Enterprise, “Carbon Creek” or “The Xindi” or “North Star,” are wonderful episodes as well.

***Visit Ernesto’s Amazon Page and Choose an awesome short story***

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What are your choices? Did I pass on one of your favorite episodes? Perhaps I should add more episodes and turn this September 8th into a four day #StarTrek weekend?

***Don’t forget to vote for your favorite Star Trek Captain!***

 

Star Trek Turns 50 (Part I)

They call me Mr. Trekkie, because I own the DVD collection for every Star Trek Series and Movies. Yes, I was an avid fan when the original series aired back in the 60’s. Of course, I was a bit too young to understand all of the serious complexities and themes being fleshed out. However, in the 70’s I grew up and appreciated the show even more during re-runs.

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Tastes change over time and I readily (and quite eagerly) accepted the new paradigms of The Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, and Enterprise. Sometimes, other sci-fi adventures got the better of my attention like Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, and Battlestar Galactica (original and 2.0). I’m not apologizing for drifting into alternate sci-fi future universes. After all, they were well made too. Perhaps that makes me Mr. Geeky, but I don’t care. There’s nothing like curling up with a snack and an awesome show for a top notch Science Fiction experience.

Here’s a poll (and it has nothing to do with Trump or Hillary)

Who is your favorite Star Trek Captain? Psst I don’t want to influence anyone. I’ll reveal my choice after the votes are cast.

 

***Visit Ernesto’s Amazon Page and read an awesome story. Live Long and Prosper***

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